By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
THE mining industry has been put in a more desperate situation as tax relief measures announced over three weeks ago have not yet been implemented, says Zambia Chamber of Mines (ZCM).
Finance Minister, Bwalya Ng’andu, announced the suspension of the 5 per cent import duty on copper concentrates.
The chamber believes that delayed implementation of the tax relief measures need to be implemented immediately to address the issues facing the mining sector and the business community in the midst of COVID-19.
ZCM Chief Executive Officer, Sokwani Chilembo, said the industry’s circumstances had become more desperate in the time that had elapsed since the March 27 announcement.
Government on Monday this week announced second set of tax relief measures, three weeks after the first set was announced.
But Mr Chilembo in a statement urged Government to urgently engage with the sector to forestall the negative impact that would arise if measures were not taken immediately.
He said the issues at Mopani Copper Mines were but an example of the distress the sector was experiencing.
“Over three weeks ago ZCM submitted a broad three-phase economic plan to Government, to urgently manage the economic impact arising from the pandemic.
“This was with a view to providing some guidance to Government on the critical areas to be urgently addressed. This proposal included, firstly, immediate relief measures that could be implemented in a matter of days,” he said.
He said all mining industry stakeholders had been hoping that some significant stimulus measures would be instituted, as was being seen across the world.
Mr Chilembo said the chamber membership stood ready to support Government efforts in its engagements with multilateral institutions to obtain assistance.
This, he was, was firstly in the fight against the epidemic and secondly for the support of economic recovery.
“The Chamber of Mines considers it essential that industry and government seize control of the negative narrative that has taken on a life of its own against the mining sector,” Mr Chilembo said.
By BUUMBA CHIMBULU